Hyundai Recalls 239,000 Elantras, Accents for Potentially Explosive Seat Belts

Seat belt pretensioners in some Hyundai Elantra and Accent models can explode, sending metal fragments into the cabin.

byNico DeMattia|
Hyundai News photo


Hyundai said Tuesday it would recall roughly 239,000 cars for potentially explosive seat belt pretensioners, which can send metal shrapnel through the cabin if they malfunction. The recall includes 66,000 2021-2023 Elantras, 12,000 2021-2023 Elantra Hybrids, and 61,000 2019-2022 Accents. Three injuries due to faulty seatbelt pretensioners have been reported so far.

The seat belt pretensioner tightens the seat belt in a crash to help keep passengers tightly in place to avoid injury. It uses a small pyrotechnic charge to tighten the belt once sensors detect a crash. In this case, the pyrotechnic charge is what can send metal fragments hurtling through the cabin. Both Hyundai and its supplier for seatbelt pretensioners, Samsong, are looking into the cause of the defect.

The recall follows a smaller recall for the same issue last year. That recall encompassed 7,712 vehicles with one reported injury.

Hyundai dealerships will install a cap over the pretensioner's "micro gas generator" to fix the potentially faulty system, and to keep any metal from entering the cabin and away from occupants. The fix for affected vehicles is free. According to the NHTSA, the estimated defect rate is 1 percent.

Customers with affected cars will have to wait until at least July 15 before bringing their cars in for repairs. If you own one of the cars mentioned in the recall and would like to know about your recall status before July 15, call 855-371-9460 and specify recall No. 229.

To prevent future issues, Hyundai said the pretensioner cap will be installed in cars built at its plants in Alabama and Korea beginning May 23.

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